As the cool winds of fall grace our doorsteps, the skunky smell of college football wafts throughout the nation. For schools like Army and Navy, the glory of yesteryear will never again be attained, but football remains a welcome distraction for students who looked at colleges and said, “That one. The one that’s like prison.”
And although the gridiron athletes of West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs are unlikely to ever play in the NFL, they do represent the future of U.S. military leadership. Which is to say: They will be complete asshats. Behold, the preseason college football rankings by how much we hate the officers that come out of your schools.
VMI is called “the West Point of the South,” which is a flowery of saying “Shitty West Point.” It’s the least hateable on this list, in part because they have been so atrociously bad at football that their presence in this ranking is almost exclusively because of their perennial mediocrity on the field. The general consensus on VMI officers from the Army vets I know seems to be that they are the Buster Bluth of officers, almost invisible within the branch. They should be honored we even noticed them.
4: West Point
While Navy’s football team is called the Midshipmen, Army calls its team of cadets THE BLACK KNIGHTS, the kind of overcompensation you should expect from a brigade of nerds in wool mini-capes. All of them want to be Douglas MacArthur (complete with trying to nuke China), but most of them will end up more like George McClellan. And a select few will be insufferable enough to make the rest of the Army resent West Point’s very existence.
This breed is easy to pick out of a crowd. They’re the one that refers to a Captain commissioned through Officers Candidate School with several combat deployments under their belt as a “12-week wonder.” Nobody cares about your dumb rings.
3: Texas A&M
Texas A&M sued the Seattle Seahawks for using “the 12th Man,” but Aggies blithely call the Corps of Cadets “the Corps” as if the Marine Corps — an actual branch of military service, and not a student militia — didn’t already exist. That’s because in College Station, Texas A&M is the center of a universe that is comprised entirely of Texas A&M. Everything inside the Texas A&M bubble goes unquestioned, and that’s why the Corps of Cadets wears uniforms that look like the Sturmabteilung crashed a state trooper convention; it’s why everyone in the Corps of Cadets is outranked by the mascot, a dog named Reveille; and it’s why class is over any time Reveille barks. About the only thing A&M has in common with the academies is that the officers who graduate from there are the only ones who think it’s impressive.
Pretty good football team, though. Not for the SEC, but by military standards.
2: The Naval Academy
The Naval Academy combines the Spartan environment and rigorous strictures of a military college with, uh, sailing. At the end of each school year, the freshman class must work together to climb an obelisk covered with lard, making Annapolis the least weird of all the service academies. On the football field, the Midshipmen have had a solid decade of swabbing the poop deck with their competition. Winners of twice as many Commander-in-Chief’s Trophies than any other service academy since 2000, their ground and pound triple option run game comes in extra handy when you have to make a run from the cops.
1: The Citadel
Citadel officers, as befitting their school’s academic ranking, tend to be a touch lower on the totem pole than their West Point brethren. Not only do they get to enjoy being yelled at in a rigid environment for four long years, they pay $30,000 a year for the privilege of a horrible college experience. Much more aggressive than other Army officers, it’s easy to see through this angry shell to the crippling insecurity at not having made it into a service academy. On the field it’s not much better, as the last time they made the FCS playoffs, they lost to the mighty Wofford Terriers.
In truth, all of the schools above produce their share of good and bad officers. But one thing is certain: they all have terrible football teams and I hate them. Go Air Force!
Editor’s Note: We deemed the Air Force Academy insufficiently militaristic for this ranking.